• Elena Elviira

Fat loss and carbs - eat them !

Carbs are your body’s main fuel and fat is used only as a backup fuel, if your carbohydrate stores get depleted. The amount of fat used as fuel, depends on the intensity of the exercise (aka energy demands) and the amount of carbohydrates available. At rest, fat and carbs are the main source of fuel.

For fat loss: Low intensity training

For your body to be able to burn fat it needs to be able to use that fat as a fuel. Pretty simple! This can be achieved when you train with depleted carbohydrate stores. This depletion of carbohydrates overrides carbs being used as fuel and adapts your body to use fat as a fuel instead, hence you WILL loose body fat. Body fat is basically a lot of energy that waits to be used and burned as energy. IT WILL WORK.

Most importantly it is important not to ‘overdose’ on carbs but still have them as part of you diet. Overdosing on carbohydrates, will not allow your body to use fat as energy as well. Second thing to focus on is to create a carbohydrate deficiency prior exercise.

To allow your body to use fat as a fuel, create a carbohydrate deficiency, where your body doesn’t have carbohydrates available for use. There are two (main) ways to create low levels of carbohydrates available. Either, by fasting by not eating before the workout, usually in the morning is easiest. But remember to have a glass of water before. Really important! The other way to create a depletion, is to train with high intensity first, so that all of your carbohydrates are being used (given that you haven’t completely overdosed on carbs that day), after which your body will start to use fats as a fuel and you can switch into more low-intensity training.

This low carb training, not only improves your endurance (long steady exercising) capacity, but it means you become better at sparing carbohydrates and using fat as fuel instead. That is because your body learns to adapt over time and starts to react differently, it learns to burn fat. To name a few changes in your body, like mitochondrial and enzymatic changes, improve your body to be more efficient at using fuel, especially fat fuel (aka burning fat).

This does not outdraw the fact that fat loss is also highly effective in higher intensity exercises, but explains that in higher intensity exercises your body relies more on carbs. In high intensity, the level of calories burned is higher, and fat burn is in action.


Men and women burn fat differently (they use different energy systems as their bodies react differently to exercise). Chapter discussed earlier, is based on studies made on men, this does not although mean it won’t apply to women, the fat as fuel adaptation might just not be as drastic. On the bright side, women already more dominantly use fat as a fuel than carbohydrates, at a given intensity, whereas men use carbohydrates as fuel preferentially and need the adaptation more or less. These bodily functions and metabolic differences for example are explained by hormones.

All in all, everything can equally be achieved by men and women but just differently. Our bodies are different and react differently. To low intensity exercise, women react by utilising fat whilst saving carbohydrates and men release more one specific hormone (catecholamine) which makes men’s bodies more prone to use carbohydrates as fuel.

Advise to give to women, is to refrain carbs after exercise as your body will keep fuelling with fat. But eating carbs after exercise, will not be a problem even when trying to loose weight.

Advise to men, train with low carbohydrate stores, so that your body will adapt and learn to start use fat as fuel.

Note: to burn fat, exercise in low intensity but as my own personal experience, l am able (you will also) to burn fat whilst doing weightlifting five to six times a week.



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